Latest News: Forums Cruising Wayfarer versions and inversion

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 11 posts - 61 through 71 (of 71 total)
  • #9558

    Question about topping lift in another thread reminded me of this one. So I thought it might be of some use to share the experience of my recent trial with Pin?ika (WWorld).

    My brother and I went out and inverted her twice, on purpose, for sake of practice and experimenting. The boat was without rear storage box, but with anchoring tackle and a pair of heavy oars under the thwart, and bagged spinnaker and some other small and light items under foredeck. Righting line was prepared as well as some fenders. On this occasion we had plenty of time, so we did things slowly, trying to study the situation and possibilities.

    First I wanted to see if one person alone could get the boat up from inversion. I tried first, then my brother. Each of us weighs about 75 kg but he is a bit tougher. Unfortunately, we concluded that neither of us alone can right this boat from inverted position. We couldn’t even make her start coming up from 180 towards 90 degrees.

    Then, I wanted to see if hoisting (actually submerging) some fenders via spinnaker halyard would be of any help. Three fenders were prepared for this, with combined volume of about 11 Liters. They were pulled all the way to the spinnaker halyard sheave on the mast. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to make even a slightest difference on righting. I think this also proves that those mainsail-head-flotation-mats are of no use.

    Righting the boat with two of us working together by standard procedure got her back of course, though it wasn’t easy. Holding onto the righting line for the time required by these trials was manageable for me in the warm afternoon and calm sea, after a nice lunch and an easy holiday morning. But had it been a cold day in some remote place with big seas after many hours of sailing, boat packed for camping – I’m not sure if I’d have enough adrenalin reserves to endure.

    Therefore it seems that everything possible should be done to prevent inversion – I bet you didn’t know this before :roll:. Joke aside, the sentence reads different after that struggling. Contrary to some of my earlier beliefs, I think now that there should be a proper anti-inversion device up on the mast. At least when sailing away from the crowd. A 40 Liter model someone mentioned sounds very reasonable now. Also, it might be a good idea to have knots tied in the righting line every foot or so, to help holding onto it.

    On the bright side, as we fiddled around the inverted boat many RIBs and boats rushed to us offering help.

    Happy sailing to all!



    Horses for Courses?
    Sadly we have just sold our last Wayfarer after 40 years of social & professional involvement with the class. They were very happy years using the Wayfarer both for personal pleasure & developing educational techniques.

    We ran an LEA centre from 1970 which then had 10 wooden wayfarers with fore & aft buoyancy in the fleet. These wooden boats were perfect for everything except perhaps winter maintenance, a pleasure to sail inland or safe at sea with absolutely no vices for training. ( except of course the time taken to empty after capsize)

    Later GRP boats were added, most certainly not maintenance free & more difficult to repair, but as direct copies were an acceptable compromise. ( still time wasted emptying)

    Experimented with a fleet of the first SD’s – designed for the purpose of leaving safely on moorings! In training, the redistribution of buoyancy was a challenge to all but, changes to technique avoided the need for mast head buoyancy. Because students have to push boundaries to progress & learn capsizes happened, so we had tubes put in through the aft tank. This meant, instead of wasting time bailing, a quick circle to right & very short tow emptied the boat & students were able to continue practising without fear of losing training time. ( So virtually no time to empty after capsize)

    The World was fantastic to race, small errors meant water went out quickly over the side, as no inside deck & out through the repositioned bailers; major errors however needed a very quick dive for the centreboard, certainly not the easiest Wayfarer to right if we were too slow!

    All this just says that up to this last change of shape! – all models have been the same but handled slightly differently. Surely there has been enough info regarding these characteristics to enable a choice to be made . To cruise on tidal waters our choice would definitely be the wooden boat, to race could equally be either depending only personal skill & agility!

    Masthead buoyancy has always been an anathema to us & is certainly not necessary if you choose the right model for you, your environment & your skill level.
    What does it say about our beloved Wayfarer?
    PS Never seen any comment referring to tidal affect when righting a capsized Wayfarer?


    Reading your post, Mato, I wonder if the reason why the fenders seemed to make no difference could be that, as you were already inverted, the thrust of the bouyancy fenders was directly upward. If the mast were at an angle to the surface, the bouyancy effect would, I think, be more effective.
    If the fenders had been raised before the inversion was attempted, perhaps it would have been much more difficult to actually invert the boat.
    Has anyone actually tried to invert a boat with the built in sail buoyancy raised and/or eg. the 9 litre Crewsaver masthead device? Regards, Dave Doran


    Hi Dave!
    I didn’t expect the fenders alone to pull the boat up. But I did hope that once I step on the gunwhale and the boat heels as much as my body weight can push it, that their buoyancy would start working with noticable effect. Unfortunately the volume of 12 L seems to be too small and much bigger volume might be very difficult to pull/submerrge after inversion.
    I think if there was time to hoist the fenders before the boat inverted, the crew would most probably be able to right it without any of these aids.
    Best wishes,


    I have both in sail bouyancy (inflated pillow) and, for extended cruises, a secumar as back up on my World. I consider it essential for safety on a cruise.

    There has been much debate about how well in sail bouyancy works but I have tested mine fairly thoroughly (not always voluntarily) and often in front of witnesses. I have no experience with the secumar as I have not capsized with it up, but I have done some testing with the in sail bouyancy; most recently whilst in Ullswater last week (during and after a wet bouyancy test). I agree with Mato about the closed cell foam mats and would not necessarily trust them without testing.

    With the sail fully up (in sail bouyancy alone) the boat happily sits on her side (admittedly unladen) and indeed it is possible to climb up the inside of the boat and over the top without inverting her (as I demonstrated several times). With two reefs in she also stayed happily on her side for some time – beyond the moment of boredom. Although I did not try to climb up the inside.

    It did prove possible to invert her with the in sail bouyancy (for the test), with enough downward force on the mast anything is possible. But, and this is important, it took positive effort to invert her. It took less effort with 2 reefs in a test last year unsurprisingly.

    Once inverted it did take some effort to right her and I put this down to a number of factors:

    1. The sails were up and this creates quite a lot of drag in the water.
    2. You need to overcome the inertia of a statically stable position.
    3. You need to break the seal before she will come upright.

    These all take time and i found that with patience and by standing on the inverted gunwale (easy on a World) and hanging back off the righting lines she does, slowly, start to come back to being on her side. Once there the crew can put away foresails etc and prepare to get in the boat as she comes upright. Although not specifically tested I feel that i have effectively righted the boat on my own in the past (I weigh less than 80Kg).

    The bouyancy did help once she was away from the vertical but it is worth noting that the turning effect of the bouyancy will increase the nearer to the horizontal she is (turning moments and vectors apply)

    Incidentally, righting lines (from the mast through the shroud chain plates) made righting her very much easier, from both her side and inversion. Indeed, although my crew was on the centreboard during this recent test I did not need to be.

    So although masthead bouyancy cannot stop inversion with certainty (as that will depend on sea and wind conditions as well as loading/stowage on the boat) it can certainly delay it sufficiently for the crew to take action and maybe prevent it in most conditions. 20l seems sufficient for this in my (unladen) experiences.

    As to the debate about in sail bouyancy versus secumar flotation devices I feel there is less between them than some. I have in sail bouyancy and am happy with its performance even with two reefs, and it is instant and always there. I have only bought a secumar as ADDITIONAL safety for long and exposed cruises. Thus I have nearly 40l of potential bouyancy up there if required, but i maintain some protection with the in-sail bouyancy if I need to drop the secumar (whilst re-arming or if it is damaged in any way).

    Some marks of Wayfarer are more prone to inversion than others, most notably the newer ones, but in the right conditions (and this may simply be being loaded for cruising) any mark can invert. As I see it as the fleet ages these newer marks will become more dominant and so i would recommend any cruiser to consider mast head bouyancy.


    The only Wayfarer that can be described as safe for cruising is the woodie because:-
    1 it is made of wood &
    2 for its fore & aft buoyancy,
    all others need extensive modifications – some that make the beautiful Wayfarer look ridiculous!


    Just to clarify- what sort of volume of masthead buoyancy do you think is needed to make a noticable difference to inversion tendencies? Is it a case of overcoming the weight of the mast itself?


    There is more on this topic at viewtopic.php?f=4&t=639

    However I have a 20l secumar that I can hoist to the top of the mast. I know my in sail ‘cushion’ is less than 20l, indeed it is possibly nearer 10l, but it does the trick as described above.

    It is not just the weight of the mast that makes inversion likely, it is where the forces occur. Andwun is right that a woodie is lees likely to invert because its bouyancy is fore and aft – so creating no turning moment. Whereas the more modern Wayfarer, with bouyancy under the floor, has a strong turning moment when on her side – underfloor bouyancy pushing up and mast down creates a turning moment about the centreline (nicely counterbalanced by the model here!).
    [attachment=1:18slicft]world high float.JPG[/attachment:18slicft]

    this moment is further reinforced because a World floats higher than other types:

    [attachment=2:18slicft]high float.JPG[/attachment:18slicft]

    Where I personally disagree with Andwun is that Woodies are not the only marks safe for cruising. We all have our own preferences and for many of us a wooden boat is not practical, but the other marks are just as safe and an inflatable device hauled to the top of the mast is hardly an extensive and ridiculous modification (even less so with in sail bouyancy). I suspect there are more GRP boats out there than woodies and we should not discourage people from cruising in them.

    I am very content to cruise in my World and I consider it perfectly safe and feel she is not disfigured by masthead bouyancy.
    [attachment=0:18slicft]masthead bouyancy.JPG[/attachment:18slicft]


    Nice photos! The blue thing doesn’t look to be causing as much windage as I expected. If by any chance you have a photo showing in a bit more detail how it’s secured up there, could you please post it? I think I’m going to order one 20L for next season (I feel/hope that should be enough to prevent inversion in conditions I encounter), though there might be problems with shipping the CO catridge…
    Thanks + all the best!



    I have no better photos of the Secumar but I haul it up on the line which runs up the outside of the mast to a cheek block at the top and back down, it works as a topping lift, and also for raising the Secumar and/or a mast head Nav light (a picture of which is shown in this topic viewtopic.php?f=5&t=747 ). The line is tied off to a cleat on the tabernacle.

    It would seem unlikely to need a Secumar at the same time as a topping lift as I only really use the latter for when I have the tent up, and I can always remove the boom and put it in the bottom of the boat or scandalise the main. I tie the Secumar on at its top and bottom, with a loop around the uphaul line from the bottom to hold it in (using a bowline knot), before pulling both uphaul and downhaul taut. I see no reason why secumar and nav light could not go up on the same line if required, indeed that is the way I have thought it through. Alternatively use a double cheek block and have two lines but how often do you sail at night?

    Hope that helps.


    Thanks Adrian! Re night sailing – I’ve never done it in W….

Viewing 11 posts - 61 through 71 (of 71 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.